The Staff Mentoring Circles Program is a yearlong professional development and mentoring initiative for Case Western Reserve staff, created in response to ongoing feedback from long-standing and newly hired employees who attempt to manage information flow across campus and by departments within divisions. These circles aim to increase the exchange of information between members of different department/units from across the university.


Staff Mentoring Circles were also designed to enhance personal and professional skills, forge new relationships and develop strategies to increase performance. The model of a mentoring circle lends itself to an open exchange and dialogue of various perspectives, including informal support networks; and the program runs from August through April.

The Staff Mentoring Circles Program has a team of dedicated committee members who represent a diverse cross-section of our campus community. The committee includes: Kathleen Dowdell, Bonnie Richley, Shirley Mosley, Lisa Board-McShepard, Jacquelyn Pollard-Charlton, Kristen McLaughlin, Laura Adams, Andrea Hinton, Lisa Hodges, Mitchell MT Kam, Melanie Harsley, Yovonda Rease, Pat Sirmons, Shannon Swiatkowski, and Garth Wadleigh. If you wish to join this committee, please contact our department at:


What happens in a mentoring circle?

Each mentoring group consists of 7 staff participants (mentees) that meet once a month with one designated facilitator (mentor) for the purpose of enhancing leadership practices, networking skills, and knowledge transfer. Participants simultaneously act both as peer mentors and mentees under the guidance of the Mentor as they exchange experiences, challenges, opportunities, and advice for the purpose of enhancing self-confidence, communication skills, leadership practices, and commitment to one’s career.


Why mentoring circles?

Mentoring circles are based on an action learning methodology whereby circle participants are encouraged to facilitate learning through asking open questions rather than offering advice and are encouraged to engage in self-reflection practices. Participants remain together as a cohort throughout the program but will also meet as a larger group to share insights as well.


Who are the mentors?

Our mentors are ones who have been selected based on their past experiences, expertise, and desire to support professional development initiatives for staff level employees. They serve as guided discussion facilitators that encourage learning and self-reflection.


Eric Dicken

Senior Executive Director

Donor Relations, University Events, and Presidential Protocol

Topic: Powerful Networking


Denise Douglas, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Executive Education

Weatherhead School of Management

Topic: Career Development


Lolita Hines

Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration, Information Technology Services

Topic: Managing Professional Relationships


Jennifer C. Scharf-Deering

Assistant Director for the Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Human Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee

Topic: Leadership Development


**There will be an informational session held on Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. in Adelbert Hall's Toepfer Room. Please feel free to bring your lunch and enjoy while learning more about this program.**


Staff Mentoring Circles program structure:

The Staff Mentoring Circles program takes place from August through April of the following year. Participants must be prepared to commit to all sessions. Mentor facilitated sessions are brown bag lunch sessions that will take place at various locations throughout campus. Lunch will be provided for August and December dates ONLY.


Staff Mentoring Circles Program 2015/2016
Staff Mentoring Circles Interest Meeting May 14, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Group Meeting 1: meet & greet - (lunch provided) August 13, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Mentoring Circle Session 1 September 10, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 2 October 8, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Group Meeting: What Is Your Strength? November 5, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Group Networking - (lunch provided) December 3, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Mentoring Circle Session 3 January 7, 2016 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 4 February 4, 2016 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Group Meeting: What Is Your Journey? March 3, 2016 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Closing Reception - (light refreshments) April 7, 2016 **3:00-4:30 pm**
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room


Open enrollment begins Monday, July 13, 2015. Registration is first come, first served.